Monday, September 15, 2008
Medical Reports: Fight Infection
It's a common problem plaguing our nation's hospitals, and the consequences can be deadly. Many patients who step inside a hospital for care end up leaving with an infection they picked up there. Seven's Richard Lemus shows how a common metal may help Fight Infection.
WSVN -- You go to the hospital to get better, but these people say they left the hospital with something worse than what they came in with.
Jenna Edmondson: "I didn't understand how I could get an infection from the hospital because you go there to get healed."
Belinda Malone: "It's very hard. It's still very hard."
Two million Americans a year will get a hospital infection, and, even scarier, 100,000 of them will die.
Dr. Michael Schmidt, Microbiologist: "Hospital-acquired infection is the dirty little secret of health care."
Microbiologist Michael Schmidt hopes to reduce infections with a common metal.
Dr. Michael Schmidt: "Copper is microbiocidal. It's a metal, and when the bacteria comes in contact with it, they die."
No one is sure why copper kills, but studies show it destroys nearly all of infection-causing microbes.
Dr. Michael Schmidt: "They're not coming back to life. They are dead ,and, as they say, dead microbes tell no tales."
Researchers are now installing copper in vital places in the hospital like bed rails, nurse call buttons, tray tables and keyboards to reduce the transmission of disease. Dr. Cassandra Salgado says copper will add another much needed layer of protection.
Dr. Cassandra Salgado, Infectious Disease Specialist: "The thought of being able to reduce our infection rates by using something as simple as this is really, really exciting."
Richard Lemus: "Copper is currently being studied in three hospitals. An additional study is underway to find out how well copper reduces infections when it's used within hospital air conditioning systems.
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